Maca - Properties, benefits and contraindications

Maca – Properties, benefits and contraindications How to take maca powder?

Maca: What is it?

Maca ( Lepidium meyenii ) is a root of the Brassicaceae family. This food’s medicinal and nutritional properties have been known for thousands of years. Currently, it is considered one of the superfoods.

Maca roots can be yellow, although some species are purplish and black. Its flavor is slightly bitter, so it is recommended to combine it with other foods.

The use of maca dates back more than 3000 years. It is believed that the Incas used the powder to improve stamina and strength before the battle. It was a great value food, and its use was reserved only for soldiers and royals. (1)

This article describes its nutritional properties, benefits, contraindications, and how to take maca powder or capsules.

Benefits of maca powder

The benefits of taking maca powder are mainly attributed to elements with antioxidant properties: polyphenols. In addition, some studies suggest that it can increase the feeling of energy and fertility. The benefits of taking maca powder are:

  1. Prevention of cardiovascular diseases

The polysaccharides in maca have antioxidant properties. (1) Improving the body’s antioxidant capacity is related to preventing cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes and preventing aging due to the oxidative effect that occurs over the years.

  1. Improves energy levels

Those who take maca powder regularly confirm that they feel an energy boost, they feel more awake even the improvement of good mood. Unlike coffee beans, powdered maca provides energy without the post-craving feeling typical of caffeine.

  1. Increases the ability to concentrate and memory

Several studies confirm that one of the properties of maca is to increase concentration and memory capacity. (6) (7) This is due to the high antioxidant power of polyphenolic compounds.

  1. Improves sexual health and estrogen levels in women

This is perhaps one of the most controversial properties of maca. In studies where women supplemented this powdered supplement vs. placebo, libido and sexual desire rates increased significantly. (5) It has been confirmed that taking maca powder regularly is effective in achieving a balance of estrogen levels and alleviating hot flashes and other typical symptoms of menopause. (6)

  1. Increases fertility in men

Currently, there are no studies that confirm that one of the properties of maca is to increase testosterone in men. However, it has been confirmed that taking this powdered supplement can improve the quantity, quality, and mobility of sperm. A fact related to the improvement of fertility. (7)

  1. It can reduce symptoms of depression

Although there are still more studies to confirm the properties of maca in alleviating depression, preliminary results have demonstrated an improvement in mood and energy during the day. (2)

Nutritional properties of maca

Powdered maca roots are high in plant protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The following table shows that the nutritional value is a food rich in vitamin C and provides a significant amount of calcium and potassium. The nutritional properties can be seen in the following table:

Calories 400 kcal
Protein 20 g
Total fat 0 g
Total carbohydrates 80 g
Total fiber 20 g
Total sugars 40 g
Football 260 mg
Iron 0 mg
Potassium 1580 mg
Sodium 0 mg
Vitamin 0 IU
Trans fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg

Table of the nutritional value of 100 g of maca – Source: USDA

How to take maca?

While there is no official recommendation of how much and how to take maca, ideally, take about 5 g twice a day. Its flavor is particular and is not usually to the liking of most, so it is generally combined with fruit shakes or protein shakes to mask it.

Taking two tablespoons of maca powder per day improves energy and endurance levels. In particular for those people who are physically active. Fitness enthusiasts often take a scoop of the powder before a training session for an extra energy boost.

Maca – Contraindications and Side Effects

Maca is considered a safe supplement. There are practically no known side effects or contraindications of maca roots. Because it can affect hormone levels to a lesser extent, it is not recommended for those with thyroid problems.

Studies are inconclusive regarding the side effects of maca in pregnant or lactating women. So doctors do not recommend using this supplement as a preventive measure.

Where to buy maca?

Maca powder is sold in natural product stores and online sports supplement stores. It can even be bought in some supermarket chains. In addition, it is also sold in the form of capsules, although its price is usually high.

We recommend buying organic maca. In this way, the consumption of pesticides and other chemicals used in traditional production is avoided. According to the FAO, organic food is a way to prevent adverse impacts on health and promote local biodiversity and ecological balance.


  • Maca is a vegetable root with high nutritional properties. Its antioxidant effect and micronutrients such as vitamin C stand out.
  • The properties of maca confirmed by science are an improvement in sexual health, energy balance, and mood and memory.
  • The powder made from its roots can be bought in health food stores, online pharmacies, and sports supplementation stores.
  • The flavor of maca is vital; to mask it, it is recommended to combine it with fruit or dairy smoothies.
  • Although there is no official recommendation on how to take maca powder to obtain its benefits, it is enough with two tablespoons per day.

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